Gently, a day is taking shape. This visit is chiseled from the veined marble of long understanding. Kathy Goodell and Frau Kolb are friends with a connection that spans decades in this life and the infinite in some other plain of existence, past lives playing a prominent role. Yet, this is our first time spending an entire week under one roof. Will we get along?
Frau experiences refreshed awareness that life is phenomenological blooming of energy, fleeting blooms on the edge of time, the wind of ideas stirs reflection, when in the company of this refined Contemporary Art Muse. Thus, OPEN to talks on closing acts and end game strategy, we embrace a day of deep talks, woven into the breezy fabric of classic San Diego sight seeing.
We wake up early, as usual. The morning zips past. At noon we were at San Diego International Airport, picking up our friend, a soul sister and personal Art Muse of Talkinggrid, Kathy Goodell, a human flowering of loveliness and edgy intelligence has arrived! She is easy to spot, looking fashionable, in her HUGE sunglasses and “Op Art,” silk blouse. She is a powerful Muse. We rush to greet her. She embraces us with the warmth. BIG HUGS! Flowing kisses. “Hello! Hello!” All around, our day is off to a rip roaring good start!
On the way to lunch in Little Italy, in San Diego, The Art Muse of Talkinggrid, Kathy Goodell’s winning personality is like a shawl, comforting. In my world, Goodell is famous not just for her expansive and intellectually daring sculptures and art installations, but also for being a person whose personality is at crossroads of glass and metal, transparent grace, fragile, yet of enduring strength and lasting fortitude. Her artistic oeuvre touches on the accidental, dreamy and quasi scientific in scope. Her art work moves me. She is a venerated teacher of art, mentor to many, with a following that spans generations, continents. She graciously speaks to my little children about the recent Henri Matisse, exhibition, up now in New York City, now, connecting with them immediately, tending to that sacred spark, an interest in art, which we hold dear.
Goodell, simply, oozes neon talent. She is one of those beings that lives and breaths the mystical condition of being a “True Artist,” a multi-faceted creature, adventure ready. She thrills me with her floating free generosity of spirit, her cool fashion sense, and her quick mind. She is a favorite of the lively Contemporary ART MUSES, a female goddess of great creativity and wit, a source of artistic inspiration to many a young and an old artist, both inspiring to art legends and generations of students. Goodell is friend who has earned the extra attention not just from Frau Kolb but from all her army of adoring students, all grateful for her indefatigable encouragement and support.
Imagine being a real Contemporary Artist, an art professor, paid for your expertise in art, a Guggenheim Grant recipient, Best Friend to Frau Kolb, Star of Talkinggrid, and international MUSE! A respected person known for knowing about ART! Think of that… Imagine being known as an Contemporary Artist and being a woman respected for her solid creativity and staggering productivity? Now, go Google yourself. What does Google say about you? Google Kathy Goodell, you will discover a woman at the crossroads of American History, a person of singular interest, and tremendous charisma. Be impressed. I am.
We drive to the Historical and Natural Preserve of Point Loma, gladly paying $5.00 per vehicle entrance fee. We look about and then decide to visit the Light House. “I Love LENS!!!” Goodell purrs. Up into the little hill we go, which like so many such relics from a time past, seems tiny, a little precious jewel of a home, which once housed the keeper of the lonely lighthouse and his family. The rooms, spick and span, chamber pots under the beds, pitcher and bowl for washing one’s face, a little guitar in the corner, hand made quilts… the usual American frontier artifacts of a time just recently past, idealized as formerly simpler.
The Point Loma lens are so beautiful. Old glass, it captures the room around it, the light, the rainbows, upside down and inside out, the play of here and there is OTHERWORLDLY. One could image that these objects might somehow be portals to different dimensions. Doorways into space. The infinite.
In Goodell’s company I find myself thinking about the perpetual. What is FOREVER? Our friendship is a lasting one, the seed of which was a casual comment Goodell made as the young Frau Kolb… I wasn’t Frau Kolb then… I was a very young woman working in an Italian Restaurant in Soho, when Kathy came in to dine. I waited on her. She saw something in me. That we became like family is a testament to her OPEN heart and generosity of spirit. Her friendship is an unwavering source of good in my life and I hope to be forever that in hers. All this LOVING makes me think of DEATH. Death.
The finality of it… really, each of us only has a few close friends in this world. Goodell is one of mine. Thus, with her I discuss the grand plan, my vision(s). We share the minutia of our days and compare notes about people that admire us, her, and/or me. We know a number of the same people, being that we are both California/New Yorkers: girls who wear the robes of Muses, forming a Muse Team, inspiriting each other to new heights.
Actually, when I die, I’d like for my tombstone to say: “Artist, Mother, Friend!” I’ve always enjoyed imagining my own funeral. I like the idea that ALL MY X Boyfriends might come together to mourn me. A handful of handsome men in tuxedos, of course. They would drink whiskey, or ambrosia, make toasts, boasts, and talk about what a pain in the ass I was. Hartmuth, my husband, would defend my memory! I would attend the event, as a sexily clad ghost, wearing a gigantic black hat bedecked in veils. The men, steadily drinking might glimpse me here, there. However, I vow, not to linger… wouldn’t want to get stuck as a wandering spirit, on this side of the river Styx.
I ask Kathy Goodell:
What three words would you chose for your tombstone?
“OH MY GAWD!” She answers.
Who do you imagine might most weep when that moment of dropping a handful of dirt on the casket arrives?
“Besides YOU, Frau?” She asks, hazel eyes twinkling. (Of course, Goodell, did not really say that… but I can dream. If I really asked her this question, I think she would say her niece would be there, eyes a flood.)
What achievement(s), as a public person, artist are you most proud of?
“As a public person… I have to think about it for a minute… That my art might infect some with a sense of the eternal.” She answered, really.
How do you expect to be remembered?
“All depends on who is doing the remembering.” She says reminding me that every memory is but a flickering candle in the unceasing wind. Who cares how we are remembered when so much of what is remembered is tarnished in the self serving act of remembering? We live but for a flashing instance, to be forgotten is inevitable. Yet, by making great art Goodell is among those that will leave an enduring legacy.
I ask Goodell a handful of earthy questions (above) on her second day in San Diego. Each day here Goodell tells me of at least one beautiful story of her life and her development. She is a San Francisco native, successful transplant to New York, with an international exhibition record and a following that spans generations. As a child she was curious about religions, not finding the perfect spiritual fit she designed her own rituals, methods of observance. Her family, long established in the United States, has historically interesting characters galore. She is a person whose personal history is fascinating and instructive to the extreme. I would like to learn more about her and a week in her gracious company, leaves me longing for more of her causal bounty/beauty.
I’d like to share with you, more of Goodell’s Goodies, stories, images and a creative perspective unlike any other. I am inspired by Goodell’s tenacity, wit, and inner glow. She represents the mature woman we’d all like to become, a person that owns herself and holds her own in any situation, a woman I admire. As Goodell prepares to depart we sit next to each other and I relinquish a little control over the image I want to project of her glory. Her unwavering modesty, overrides, my desire to BANG a DRUM, toot HER HORN, and CELEBRATE like a champion gladiator her enduring brilliance, her remarkable SHINE.